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Deeper Learning Digest: Perspectives on Teaching for and Achieving Deeper Learning for All Students

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January 29, 2016 10:40 am

deeper learning

Rafael Heller, principal policy analyst at Jobs for the Future and former Alliance for Excellent Education staffer, shares candid perspectives on teacher change in Education Week’s Learning Deeply blog and introduces two recently released papers on deeper learning. In his post, Heller explores the idea that many education reforms occur at a policy level, but very few changes are actually made in the classroom. He explains: “From one decade to the next, policy talk may swing back and forth among competing ideals, movements, and initiatives, but instructional practices change at their own pace (which is to say, very slowly).” This pattern drives the question of whether there are new and different ideas about education, or if we continue to re-package similar concepts over the years. This question is answered in the first of the two reports Heller discusses, called The Why, What, Where, and How of Deeper Learning in American Secondary Schools.

The second new paper, Deeper Teaching, addresses the issue that teachers must learn how to move students towards deeper learning outcomes, by teaching in a “way that helps students grasp academic content at a high level, while also teaching them to collaborate, communicate effectively, monitor their own learning, build stronger academic mindsets, and engage in a productive struggle with the material.” Educators can easily subscribe to the goals of deeper learning, Heller points out, but to elicit them in a classroom setting is something different.

Speaking of teaching for deeper learning, the Alliance and the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF) are cohosting a webinar on February 2 on this topic. The webinar, which is the third in a series designed to explore the conditions needed to support great teaching for deeper learning, will take an in-depth look at building a culture of collective responsibility to ensure all students have access to deeper learning. Panelists, which include Monica Martinez, NCTAF commissioner and senior fellow at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; Laura McBain, director of the Education Leadership Academy at the High Tech High Graduate School of Education; and Alliance President Bob Wise, will discuss creating conditions to support deeper learning, including new roles for teachers along with sufficient time for professional learning and collaboration. Learn more and register now:

If you’d like a preview of what Martinez might say in the webinar, she did a recent interview with Houston Public Media in which she shared five things to know about deeper learning:

  1. That’s it’s not about technology
  2. It’s about real life problems
  3. Students are active in deeper learning
  4. Who runs the school can vary
  5. And the biggest barrier? Lack of vision

She expands upon each of these areas in the interview, so check out the full article:

Deeper Learning Digest

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